In today’s digital Nigeria, most businesses need a website. It is thus understandable that any small business owner would search for “how to create a website”. There are several ways to create a web site. I would be sharing the key ideas and suggestions with you today.
You might be wondering if it is possible to create a Website for Free from Nigeria?
To be brutally honest, the simple answer is No. None of the options I would be listing is completely free. Where you are making use of a free website building platform, at the very least, you would still need money to pay for your internet connectivity.
The main options are explained below.
1. Hire a professional Web Design company
The most effective option would be to hire a professional Web Design company in your city or town. A local company should be able to offer more support since they would be readily accessible. The best company would have years of experience and the best skills in-house. This should translate into a high-quality website. They would thus be able to sit with you, discuss your requirements, offer the best solution. A good company would have Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts in their team. They would be able to offer SEO services bundled with the website creation. SEO could also be an optional add-on. SEO is critical to the success or otherwise of a business website.
The main challenge with this option is the cost. A professional Web Design firm could easily be the most expensive option but can offer the best value for money.
2. Engage a freelancer Web Designer
This would be the next best option for creating a website from Nigeria. You can engage the services of a freelancer in Nigeria or anywhere in the world. To find a freelancer, it is best to make use of any of the popular freelance websites. Examples of these include freelancer.com, upwork.com and fiverr.com. You can filter down the available freelancers and make a choice by applying important criteria. These include their country, confirmed skills, existing reviews and their years of experience. Filtering the country to “Nigeria” would reveal ones you can deal with within the country.
They tend to be relatively cheaper than companies but can be less professional and less reliable. This can be slightly risky but the escrow service offered by leading freelance websites mitigates the risk. The escrow service ensures that you pay the freelancer only when you have reviewed the work they did and are satisfied with the quality they have delivered.
3. Build the website yourself
You can build the website yourself if you just want to learn website design or can neither afford to hire a company nor a freelancer. You need to have the time and ability to learn new skills for this to work. There are a lot of free tutorials online regarding how to build a website yourself, online. The primary platform for free video tutorials would be Youtube. You would find higher quality tutorials if you are willing to pay for it. Premium web design tutorials are available on platforms like LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, Khan Academy, Udacity and edX. A website like Udemy tends to regularly offer steep discounts
I would split the types: Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Website Builders and Content Management Systems (CMS).
(a) Do-It-Yourself Website Builders
You can find these with Web Hosts, offering it as a stand-alone service or bundled with Web Hosting plans. Examples of these web hosts include Web4Africa. Web4Africa is offering web hosting with free SSL certificates and free domain registration with reliable technical support.
Where the Website Builder service is free-of-charge and/or bundled with a web hosting service, the functionalities are typically limited. The most powerful versions tend to be standalone and premium. This implies that you cannot avoid paying for the best Website Builder options.
This service would typically come with a Graphical User Interface (GUI). They allow the customer to build the website themselves through their web browser or mobile app using drag-and-drop methods.
To give users an easy start, they would usually come with video and text tutorials.
(b) Content Management Systems (CMS)
Platforms like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal have since evolved into very powerful Content Management Systems. Some WordPress themes (templates), for example, have become platforms of their own. The best ones are not free of charge and also have a learning curve. You would need to invest time and probably money, into learning how to handle the best themes. Some of the premium WordPress themes would share video tutorials.
To access WordPress, you can either open a free account with WordPress.com or buy a Web Hosting account from a hosting company that offers WordPress. WordPress.com offers limited themes but the version from Web Hosts offer maximum flexibility and would be the recommended version.
A new recommendation is WP5. WordPress Version 5, that was released in December 2018, comes with a new feature known as Gutenberg. The new feature that allows you to build a website yourself without investing in a premium theme.
It is possible to create and manage an effective website in Nigeria. You can make use of a professional website design company, a freelance web designer, or you can build the website yourself using a Website Builder or Content Management System. You can make a decision based on the quality of the website you want while balancing that with your available funds and time.
See you at the top.